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THE WAR OF CAROS:
Caros is probably the noted usurper Carausius, by birth a Menapian, who assumed the purple in the year 284: and, seizing on Britain, defeated the Emperor Maximian Herculius in several naval engagements, which gives propriety to his being called in this poem the king of ships. He repaired Agricola's wall, in order to obstruct the incursions of the Caledonians; and when he was employed in that work, it appears he was attacked by a party under the command of Oscar the son of Ossian. This battle is the foundation of the present poem, which is addressed to Malvina the daughter of Toscar.
BRING, daughter of Toscar! bring the harp! the light of the song rises in Ossian's soul! It is like the field, when darkness covers the hills around, and the shadow grows slowly on the plain of the sun. I behold my son, O Malvina! near the mossy rock of Crona.* But it is the mist of the desert, tinged with the beam of the west! Lovely is the mist, that assumes the form of Oscar! turn from it, ye winds, when ye roar on the side of Ardven!
Who comes towards my son, with the murmur of a song? His staff in his hand, his grey hair loose on
* Crona is the name of a small stream which runs into the Carron.
looks back to Caros. went to view the foe. ships?" said the son
the wind. Surly joy lightens his face. He often It is Ryno* of songs, he that "What does Caros king of of the now mournful Ossian, spreads he the wings + of his pride, bard of the times of old!" "He spreads them, Oscar," replied the bard, "but it is behind his gathered heap.‡ He looks over his stones with fear. He beholds thee terrible, as the ghost of night, that rolls the wave to his ships!"
"Go, thou first of my bards!" says Oscar, "take the spear of Fingal. Fix a flame on its point. Shake it to the winds of heaven. Bid him, in songs, to advance, and leave the rolling of his wave. Tell to Caros that I long for battle; that my bow is weary of the chace of Cona. Tell him the mighty are not here; and that my arm is young."
He went with the murmur of songs. Oscar reared his voice on high. It reached his heroes on Ardven, like the noise of a cave; when the sea of Togorma rolls before it; and its trees meet the roaring winds. They gather round my son like the streams of the hill; when, after rain, they roll in the pride of their course. Ryno came to the mighty Caros. He struck his flaming spear. Come to the battle of Oscar, O
* Ryno is often mentioned in the ancient poetry. He seems to have been a Bard, of the first rank, in the days of Fingal.
+ The Roman eagle.
Agricola's wall, which Carausius repaired.